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Aussies not stressed by
favourites tag: Gilchrist
Brian Murgatroyd |
March 14, 2003 20:28 IST
Adam Gilchrist says Australia are not being weighed down by their position as the World Cup's overwhelming favourites.
Australia have won all of their eight matches as part of a world-record run of 14 successive wins.
That, together with two back-to-the-wall victories against England and New Zealand, has created an aura of invincibility around the world champions.
Vice-captain Gilchrist, speaking on the eve of their final Super Six match against Kenya, said the side is not about to start believing the hype.
"The expectation that we just have to go out and win is brewing, you can feel it around," he told reporters in Durban on Friday.
"There is expectation here and also great expectation back home... we have discussed it and addressed it and no one is nervous or heavy-shouldered from that weight of expectation.
"We are really settled on what we have got to do, our planning and preparation, and I don't feel we are or will lose focus.
"Our view is that it has not been just a cruise to eight wins in a row and that no one can beat us. We know we have been close to defeat a number of times.
Gilchrist said Australia had not only been tested by England and New Zealand but had also been vulnerable at 86 for four against Pakistan.
"It is nice to know we have been under pressure and come through but we don't want to be in those situations too often.
"We have played some terrific cricket and some cricket we have not been too pleased with when our opponents outplayed us.
"That has been a good reality check and a wake-up call to keep working hard in the nets and work out why things happened as they did," he added.
Australia's lack of complacency has been evident before the Kenya match.
Both sides have already reached the semi-finals but Gilchrist said there would be no half measures against a side that have lost their three previous meetings with the world champions.
"Kenya gave us a real scare when we played them in Nairobi last year," he said. "Admittedly we left a couple of players out and mixed the batting order up a bit but it almost backfired on us.
"We want to keep our momentum going and win this game."
Gilchrist was full of praise for Kenya, who have defied the odds to become the first non-test playing country in World Cup history to reach the last four.
"It is a terrific achievement and it looks like they have got great self-belief and team spirit," he said.
"A lot of people have knocked them and said they should not have got through on the weight of a forfeiture but there were no guarantees that if New Zealand went there they would have got the four points as we saw with Sri Lanka.
"They have got where they are by good cricket, committed cricket and a strong belief."
Australia had an optional practice session at Kingsmead on Friday and are likely to finalise their side on the morning of the match after checking on the fitness of all-rounder Andrew Symonds, who has missed the last two games with a groin injury.
Kenya were scheduled to practice at Kingsmead on Friday afternoon.
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